We Have Your Back

A New York Times piece featured UT Austin’s progress in increasing graduation rates through a series of innovative programs and the use of predictive analytics that build a “we have your back” community of support for students who may otherwise struggle to succeed. The University is forecasting it will hit its goal of graduating 70 percent of students within four years “helping to make room for more than 1,000 additional freshmen. Even more impressive, the gap between the campus-wide four-year graduation rate and the rate for low-income, black, Latino and first-generation students has been cut in half.”
 
The Texas A&M System broke ground this week on its RELLIS campus “marking the occasion with bulldozers in lieu of the typical ceremonial shoveling.” You can watch the video here.
 
State Sen. Chuy Hinojosa was honored as one of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni. A McAllen Monitor editorial noted, “Hinojosa has long been a champion for improving education, on all levels, within Texas, and in particular in the Rio Grande Valley.”
 
The joint committee on higher education funding, which recently met in Austin to “examine how higher education institutions are funded and how they use special item project funds,” will submit recommendations by April 15. The committee may have more hearings, according to co-chair Sen. Kelly Hancock. The Houston Chronicle offers an “explainer” about what’s going on with higher education funding.
 
Speaking of funding, Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan saidthe 2019 Texas Legislative Session should be more “generous” with higher education funding. Duncan, a former state lawmaker himself, was in El Paso for a meeting of the System’s Board of Regents. "The economy looks a lot better right now; I foresee higher education being highly supported in the next session. There's always issues and things that have to be worked through. But I think it's our opportunity to show legislators the benefits that we provide for the citizens of our state," Duncan said. El Paso is home to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, which experienced a reduction of roughly $1.2 million for 2017-2018.
 
UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven, in an online letter to students offered his support for those currently under DACA status who may be facing uncertain futures as a deadline for a permanent solution to their legal status draws near. “If you are a DACA recipient … your time on one of our 14 campuses should be marked by your hard work, determination and enlightenment — not by anxiety about your future. I, along with UT institution presidents, strongly believe in the benefits of DACA and encourage Congress to act quickly to continue the program and create a pathway for you to fulfill what I trust is your dream, to become a citizen of our great nation.”
 
Watch the “Live Falcon Cam” mounted on top of The University of Texas Tower, which is home to one of the fastest animals on the planet, a Peregrine Falcon. Proceeds from watching the falcon, dubbed “Tower Girl,” support the Biodiversity Center scientists and students who study and work to raise awareness about a wide diversity of animals, plants, ecosystems and their interactions.

Week of March 4, 2018

Latest Updates

  • "Talent is universal. Opportunity isn't."

    "You start with a premise that talent is universal. Opportunity isn't.” That is the philosophy of new UT System Chancellor James Milliken who sat down for a wide-ranging interview with KXAN in Austin. He discussed the need for more higher education in Texas, to meet growing demand now and in the future, and highlighted his priorities for the Legislative Session, which includes getting lawmakers to increase higher education investments. He would not disclose if former Chancellor McRaven advised him to make his bed. (Though he did give him “lots of tips about leading the UT System.”)

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  • Cyber Warriors

    A special unit of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets is focusing on digital national defense – training up the next generation of “cyber warriors” according to The Eagle. “The recent John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act designated all senior military colleges as cyber institutes that, according to the act, should offer programs to ‘provide future military and civilian leaders of the Armed Forces or the Department of Defense who possess cyber operational expertise from beginning through advanced skill levels.’” There are 47 cadets in the unit this year.

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